Summerland students to program space satellite

Students in Summerland, B.C., still do plenty of reading, writing and arithmetic — but this summer they will be the first school in Canada to program a satellite in space.

The satellite will launch into space on a SpaceX rocket this summer

The Summerland Secondary School's Ardusat satellite. The satellite will be launched on a SpaceX rocket this summer. The Okanagan-Skaha school district will be the first in Canada to program a satellite in space. (Code67.ca)

Students in Summerland, B.C., still do plenty of reading, writing and arithmetic — but this summer they will be the first school in Canada to program a satellite in space.

It is part of a project developed by Ardusat that gives classes from around the world access to one of their micro-satellites for one week.

Trevor Knowlton, a careers teacher at Summerland Secondary School, says the satellite will be launched on a SpaceX rocket this summer and they'll get access shortly after.

"They are tiny satellites, around 10 square centimetres and they have many different sensors on them," said Knowlton.

The students are learning to program the satellite through a course called Code67, which provides a structured curriculum that can be accessed online by students of all ages from across the provinces.

"Each group of students can decide which sensors they use and what data they want to bring back from any given experiment."

Right now the course is a pilot program, but Knowlton hopes it will become a key part of students' education.

"A huge technological change is happening in our world. Careerwise it is great, there is a lot of future there. Also just for daily life, for staying safe online."

Knowlton admits some students have already surpassed his skills, building websites and even running servers.

"Rarely does a teacher hand out a textbook where a students say we've already done chapters three four and six, but in this case we have a lot of students coming in with great skills."


To listen to the full interview with Trevor Knowlton, listen to the audio labelled Summerland Coding.​